Finding Sugar on Food Labels
Sugar can be found on the food label under total carbohydrate. Sugar is identified as sugar or sucrose which is a simple carbohydrate derived from sugar cane and sugar beets. Sucrose’s most important properties are its water solubility and its sweetness.
You can find different types of sugar under the ingredient list. Other simple carbohydrates or refined sugars on the market include fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, lactose, and maltose. Keep in mind that no form of sugar is healthy, so know that any word that ends in “ose” is a form of sugar, including dextrose, galactose etc. Also watch for “monosaccharides” or “disaccharides”, or various “syrups” which are also fancy names for sugar. Of course you are sure to find the more identifiable refined sugars in the ingredient list such as confectioners’ sugar, powdered sugar, maple syrup tubinado sugar and mannitol sugar.
Keep in mind that the ingredients listed first listed on the ingredient label are the highest amount for that particular food item. It never is a good sign if a sugar is the first or second item listed.
According to the USDA’s Food Pyramid guidelines some of the more popular foods in our daily diet contain most of the added sugars in American diets. They include:
- Regular soft drinks
- Fruit drinks, such as fruitades and fruit punch
- Milk-based desserts and products, such as ice cream, sweetened yogurt, and sweetened milk
- Grain products such as sweet rolls and cinnamon toast.
- Condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, relish and salad dressing
- Processed foods like bread, flavored rice, peanut butter, tomato sauce, breakfast cereal, microwave meals